Your Air handler unit is usually located in a closet, garage or attic. It has the evaporator coil, heater and a blower. The primary function of the evaporator coil is to cool the air passing through it. The AC blower forces this cool air through the AC plenum into the duct system throughout your home or business.
In Brampton, we mostly have a sunny weather all year which increases the use of the cooling feature of your Air Condition Unit. As both warm and cool air mixes in your AC air handler, it produces both cool air as well as condensation in the form of water. This excess water is collected in a condensate pan in the air handler unit, which is drained by pipes (condensate line) to the exterior of your home or business.
How to Clean the AC Condensate Drain
Below is a quick and easy guide on how to unclog your Air Conditioning condensate line.
If your air conditioning air handler is in a utility closet or garage and you notice water around it or the surrounding drywall is continuously wet or if the unit is located in the attic and there are water marks or water leaking below where it is located, then you may have a blocked AC condensate pipe. The result of this blockage in the pipes is water backing up and causing damage in your home.
This is quite a common problem with every AC system as the condensate pan in your AC system not only catches water but also dirt. Over time, algae form and grows in the condensate drain pipe resulting in the pipe becoming blocked. This water that would normally drain to the outdoors of your home will now overflow into your home causing damage, because of the blockage.
This is one of the basic AC repair maintenance that air conditioning service performs. The unclogging of your AC Condensate Drain Pipe is explained below:
Your AC condensate line / pipes are located on the outer side of your Air Handler unit. There might be two PVC pipes one is the primary drain and the second the secondary drain. When the primary condensate drain pipe is clogged then water will overflow into the secondary drain.
When the entire system is blocked then water will overflow the drain pan and then into your home. Here are 5 simple steps to correct this AC problem.
Turn off the power to your Air Conditioning unit and then locate your condensate line where it terminates outside your home. The Condensate line is made of ¾ inches PVC piping and usually ends near the AC Condenser outside of your home or business, where you should see water dripping. If you are unsure of what to do, we do not recommend that you do this job by yourself.
You will need a wet / dry vacuum. This is a special vacuum that can vacuum up liquids or solids. The vacuum hose is usually a standard 2 ½ inches but you will need to have an adjust fitting to reduce the hose from 2 ½ inches to 3 / 4 inches. If your wet / dry vacuum comes with a paper filter, please remove it. One large benefit to having an air conditioning repair specialist like us do this repair for you is that we have all the specialized tools and trained AC technicians to do the job competently. Buying a wet / dry vacuum would cost several hundred dollars while a simple AC condensate drain cleaned by OM Heating and Cooling would probably be half of that cost.
Attach the wet / dry vacuum hose to the condensate pipe on the outside of your home or business and turn it on to suck any blockage from this end. Leave the vacuum on for about 2 or 3 minutes. Disconnect the vacuum and your AC condensate line should now be clear of all debris, algae, etc.
Go inside your home and find the air handler unit. Again, if you are unsure of what to do, we do not recommend attempting to fix this problem by yourself. Remove the blower cover by unscrewing it. Locate the condensate drain pan and inspect to see if the water is running out freely. If it is dirty you can vacuum out the dirt with the vacuum or simply clean it.
Put a condensate pan tablet in the drain pan, you can get them at your local home repair store. If you do not have any then pour a cup of household chlorine bleach in the condensate drain line. This should kill any remaining algae. Once you are done with this step and you are certain that your condensate drain line is clear then replace and secure the blower cover. Turn your AC power back on. You are now done.
More recent Air Conditioning units have an overflow sensor at the beginning of the condensate drain pipe near the air handler unit. When the condensate pipes are blocked and the water begins to back up, this sensor will shut down your air conditioning system completely. If this happens, simply follow the steps above to clear the blockage and everything will be OK. Your system will return to normal.
If however, after doing the above, your condensate pipes are still blocked or you see excess water, please call OM Heating and Cooling immediately, a trained air conditioning / HVAC repair professional would be required to determine the exact problem(s) with your AC system. Call us now 647-968-2952!!